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The booty was rich, and included not only arms and
jewels, but money, which was of the utmost value as a
means of paying the troops. After this success the
movements of the invaders were slow, as they were
delayed by the tribes inhabiting the neighbourhood of the
Khyber Pass, but before the disunited weaklings of Delhi
realized what was happening, Nadir had taken Peshawar
and crossed the Indus at Attock.
The Battle of Karnal, A.H. 1151 (1738).óMohamed
Shah was by this time really alarmed, and, having collected
what troops he could, he marched to the plain of Karnal,
on the right bank of the Jumna, some sixty miles from
Delhi. There he formed an entrenched camp and supinely
awaited the invader, who swiftly marched across the Panjab.
Nadir recognized the strength of the position, and was
in some doubt what course to pursue. Mohamed Shah,
meanwhile, had received a reinforcement of thirty thousand
men under Saadat Khan, one of the leading princes of
India. Upon reporting his arrival to the Emperor he
urged that battle must be given at once, to prevent the
breaking up of the army from lack of supplies. Then,
hearing that a detached force of six thousand Kurds was
attacking and pillaging, Saadat Khan led his forces out
and drove them off. On both sides reinforcements were
hurried up and the engagement became general. Nadir
employed his usual tactics of an ambush with much
success, and Saadat Khan was defeated and taken prisoner.
Another leading general was wounded, the elephants were
frightened by fire-balls, and the vast Indian army was
routed, though only a portion of the forces on either side
had come into action.
Nadir's own description of the battle, in a letter
written to his son, has most fortunately been preserved,
and deserves to be quoted at some length.1
This battle ksted two hours; and for two hours and a half
more were our conquering soldiers engaged in pursuit. When one
hour of the day remained, the field was entirely cleared of the
enemy ; and as the entrenchments of their camp were strong, and
1 Vide also the heading to this chapter.
VOL. II                                                                                     2 A